Armed Al Qaeda on Way from Saudi Hideouts for Attack
America’s abrupt elevation of its nationwide terror alert from yellow to orange Sunday, December 21, was not just as a precautionary layer of security for the holiday season. Nor was it prompted merely by increased chatter over al Qaeda-linked websites. US Homeland Minister Tom Ridge spoke of “substantially increased intelligence” that “the extremists” anticipated an attack to exceed or rival the 9/11 disasters. Special police and National Guards unit spread out in New York and other American cities at sensitive locations. The State Department re-issued a simultaneous worldwide warning to overseas Americans to watch out for terrorist activity.
All these measures were pretty extreme.
They were prompted, debkafile‘s exclusive counter-terror sources report, by solid and alarming information reaching Washington from two southwestern provinces of Saudi Arabia on the Yemeni border.
From the first week of December, according to our sources, trained al Qaeda terrorists have been creeping past the Saudi, Yemeni and undercover American special forces deployed in the area for long-running counter-terror operations. The terrorists have been heading out of their strongholds in Hadhramouth east of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, and slipping north and then west bearing large quantities of shoulder-launched ground-air missiles, weapons and different types of explosives. The fundamentalist terrorists then split up between two Saudi towns: Najran and Jizran, capitals of the provinces of those names. The Inhabitants of both regions are ethnic Yemenis and would have lent a willing hand to their compatriot, Osama bin Laden, in the transfer of substantial forces from Hadhramauth.
From Najran, the fundamentalists with their tools have death have been heading north for missions inside the oil kingdom.
From Jizran’s air and sea ports – and its 100 Red Sea islands, including the strategic Farasan Archipelago – a second al Qaeda group has been making for overseas operations. From Jizran, they would have no difficulty in spiriting themselves and their weapons out of the country and out of the Middle East, as far as North America.
At Najran and Jizan alike, air links are available to main cities in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and East Africa. According to debkafile‘s sources, the working intelligence hypothesis is that they are already on their way to target destinations aboard outgoing passenger planes. It is also feared that some may have boarded unmarked aircraft waiting to pick them up and carry them to points unknown. At this stage therefore the number of al Qaeda operatives on their way to overseas locations cannot be established, any more than their destinations. Their names will not appear on any passenger lists.
The coming DEBKA-Net-Weekly Issue appearing on December 25 will update and expand on this development.
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